Recently, an interesting football conversation commenced nearby. It involved the concept of whether or not scoring should be removed from games of AFL Masters to reduce the amount of aggressive competiveness amongst players whose glory days are behind them and should possibly just be playing for fun.
Footy is many things to many people. Therefore, there will not be a consensus on whether this (at this stage unofficial) idea has merit. But what is compelling is the link between this potential expectation for our oldest players and the arguments for our youngest players – kids.
For a moment, let’s assume that the idea has merit and one day we have AFL Masters playing for no scores – just enjoyment. We have already seen AFL Victoria introduce no scores for junior grades from the 2015 season where grades up to Under 10 would play with no scores and develop “an enjoyment philosophy rather than a winning philosophy’’ (Herald Sun, 2014). Since then most states and territories have more or less adopted the same policies.
Half way through the AFL off-season and fans are now counting down to the 2019 season. Media is reporting on how teams have recovered from their breaks. Injury lists are being finalised to get players back for Round One. New recruits are being paraded on the training tracks in their new colours and teams are bringing them into their revised game plans – or building game plans around them.
It is an exciting time, but the best part is that supporters of 18 teams know that there is a new dawn arriving with – potentially – greatness around the corner. A premiership this year might be the start of something greater – a dynasty, perhaps.
The following is a purely personal point of view about which clubs might be on the cusp of something great. By great I am referring to sustained success. Hawthorn claimed three flags from four grand finals between 2012 and 2015. Before that, Geelong took three flags from 2007 to 2011 from four grand finals. Sydney and West Coast dominated 2005/6 and the Brisbane Lions also had four grand finals for three flags between 2001 and 2004.
The young girl positioned herself behind the goalposts as usual. She did this at every training session to watch her brothers. On the field the coach barked orders and the players continued another set of sprints, sweat pouring from their brows, but knowing this was the last training session before the Christmas break.
Hannah watched the players. She watched them complete their handpassing drills every training night. She watched the kicking drills. She watched the tackling, the marking, everything. Tonight a tear ran down her cheek when she wished that maybe Santa might one day grant her the chance to play her favourite game. Maybe this Christmas?
As she sat watching, her cheeks still red from her gentle weeping, the coach turned around and faced her. Hannah was unsure why or what had happened. Maybe something was going on behind her. But the coach started motioning for her to come out onto the field.
Lost in the shuffle of Majak Daw’s recent injuries when falling from Melbourne’s Bolte Bridge is his impact on the game of Australian Rules football. Whilst there is some polarisation of people’s reaction to Daw’s latest misfortune – from sympathy to, sadly, discriminatory – Daw’s contribution to opportunity for young immigrants is profound.
Rohan Smith’s article at www.news.com.au sheds great light on his journey and achievements within the context of how hard daw has had to work through his life to achieve at all.
Majak Daw has survived it all, and continues to hang tough. It’s not just a tribute to his strength — it’s a result of where he’s come from.
When Majak Daw speaks, you’d never know English is his second language. He’s got the Australian twang.
When he kicks a footy, you’d never know he grew up a world away where the luxury of recreational sport isn’t afforded to kids like it is here.
When discussing the history of Australian Rules football in Australia, the nexus of the game has always been centred on the southern states of Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. The development of the game in Queensland has often been linked to the arrival on the national stage of the Brisbane Bears, then Lions and the Gold Coast Suns.
Yet authors Murray Bird and Greg Parker have spent a decade researching the true origins and development of the game in Queensland, tracing the period of 150 years from 1866 to 2016. The book “More Of The Kangaroo – 150 Years Of Australian Fotball In Queensland – 1866 to 2016” is comprehensive.
From the south-eastern population centres in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba/Darling Downs to the regional cities to the north and even west (Wide Bay, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Mt Isa), Bird and Parker have extensively researched the growth of Australian Rules football across Queensland.
Here’s a new argument to get your collective and individual teeth in to.
Since 1987 when the West Coast Eagles and Brisbane Bears entered the then VFL, interstate teams have reached the grand final many times. All but one of those games has been played at the MCG. Currently, fuelled further by Caroline Wilson’s recent comments on 3AW’s Sportsday program about the subject, Adelaide Crows coach Don Pyke and outgoing Sydney Swans Chief Executive Andrew Ireland are two strong voices pushing the idea.
It seems that the rationale is about fairness and removing “home” advantage for Victorian clubs, and by playing three grand finals for a best of three result this will be reduced. But the idea is fraught with inconsistencies. Not only that, but sheer statistics make a case against the idea. The clubs, AFL, sponsors and businesses would undoubtedly welcome three major events each year. Think of the money raised.
Listen up, Australia! The AFL Grand Final has passed. The Eagles are premiers. Most followers of the game are currently watching Facebook feeds or websites to see which player is being traded to which club. Most of the Australian population waits for next September for the next biggest day of the year.
The more enlightened footy follower, however, knows that this weekend is arguably the biggest weekend for footy seen for many years. Just like the planets aligned earlier this year and Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus were visible in the same sky on the same night, this weekend sees that rarest alignment – the biggest carnivals for AFL Europe, AFL Asia and the USAFL have aligned this weekend.
The past two evenings I got to see a great initiative that will hopefully change the way the AFL and their recruiters think about women playing Australian football and other sports overseas when it comes to filling out their lists. They have decided that this opportunity cannot be ignored and have delivered these athletes from across the world on a plate for AFLW list consideration.
It is a very professionally run setup both in terms of personnel and facilities and looks to be just the first iteration of what hopefully will be a successful program for years to come.
Over the years, players from international or multicultural by birth backgrounds have polled well on Brownlow Medal night. Jim Stynes won the Brownlow Medal in 1991 and remains the most successful international player. However, other players to have polled well over the years include Pearce Hanley (Brisbane & Gold Coast) and Tadgh Kennelly (Sydney) among others.
Tonight at the Brownlow Medal count, Mason Cox (Collingwood), Jason Johannisen (Western Bulldogs) an Aliir Aliir (Sydney Swans) each polled three votes. If an award were given, Mason Cox would not win as he incurred a suspension during the season. If an award were based on the most three votes (as the Brownlow once was) then Johannisen would win as his votes came from one best on ground performance.